Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*Paris. French capital, in which the novel opens. There, American newspaperman Jake Barnes lives and works in the midst of a community of American and British expatriates who find the city a wasteland of values. A question regarding values that arises early in the book is the contrast between work and idleness, and this opposition is reflected in the Parisian locales frequented by Jake and his friends.
Paris is split by the River Seine into two sections: the Right Bank (Rive Droite) and the Left Bank (Rive Gauche). In the novel, work is associated with the Right Bank. Jake’s newspaper office, for example, is on the Right Bank, in the vicinity of the avenue de l’Opéra and the Tuileries garden. On the Right Bank, too, he encounters Georgette, who as a prostitute is a working woman.
When Jake, with Georgette in tow, goes partying with his idle and rich expatriate friends, they go to the Left Bank, near the Panthéon. There they encounter Jake’s love, Lady Brett, with an entourage of gay men. The similarity between Georgette and Brett is emphasized by their rhyming names and their promiscuity; the difference between them is that one engages in sex professionally, and the other is an alcoholic amateur in promiscuity.
It is evident that Ernest Hemingway endorses the values of work and the Right Bank, rather than the bohemian idleness of the Left Bank, for those who work are realistic and...
(The entire section is 854 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
The Lost Generation
Writers, horrified by the stranglehold of business and the uselessness of Prohibition, expatriated to Paris where the favorable exchange rate enabled them to work for a newspaper or magazine. Yet these writers usually spent most of their time sitting in cafes lost in the aftermath of a war for which they refused responsibility. Disillusioned, they discussed their inherited nineteenth-century values and the provincial and emotional barrenness of America. Fortunately, they found comfort in an older generation. Hemingway, armed with letters of introduction by Sherwood Anderson joined this group who flocked to Gertrude Stein’s Salon, Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore, the apartment of James Joyce the transatlantic review offices of Ford Madox Ford, or Samuel Putnam’s office. The older writers cultivated the members of what Stein labeled, after overhearing her mechanic, as “the lost generation.” Of the elders, Stein, who was the bridge between past and present, and Ezra Pound whom Hemingway tried to teach boxing in return for tutelage, were the most important influences on Hemingway.
(The entire section is 805 words.)
The novel opens in Paris in the early 1920s. The Left Bank of the Seine River was a magnet for philosophers, artists, and writers during the decade following the First World War; this era and place inspired some of the greatest artistic works of the modern age. Hemingway himself lived in Paris as a young man, and mingled with such literary figures as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.
Although The Sun Also Rises opens in Paris and is informed by the sensibility of the American and British community there, its venue ranges across the European countryside. Jake and his friend Bill Gorton leave Paris by train to go fishing in the Basque country of Spain; then they join the other members of their party. The symbolic focus of the festival in Pamplona is the bullfight; ordinary citizens risk their lives every morning to "run with the bulls" through the streets of the city. Jake and his friends are expatriates and wanderers all, unable to call any one place home. Even Jake, who considers himself a true "aficionado"—one who understands and believes passionately in the bullfight—has his convictions shaken by the events that unfold over the course of the week; by the time he leaves Pamplona, he is a changed man. The novel ends in Madrid, where Jake and Brett ponder the changes they have undergone at the festival.
(The entire section is 231 words.)
Book I, Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. Where did Robert attend college?
2. What is Robert’s religion?
3. Who is the narrator?
4. Give three sports in which Robert excelled.
5. Why is Jake suspicious about Robert’s having been a middleweight boxing champion?
6. How many years did Robert stay in Europe?
7. Why does Frances change her attitude toward Robert?
8. What sport do Robert and Jake share?
9. What shows Frances’ jealousy?
10. What shows Robert’s insecurity at the end of the chapter?
1. Robert attended college at Princeton.
2. Robert is Jewish.
3. The narrator of the novel is Jake Barnes.
4. Three sports in which Robert had excelled were boxing, football, and tennis.
5. Jake is suspicious about Robert’s actually having been a boxing champion at Princeton because no one from Princeton seems to remember him.
6. Robert stayed in Europe three years.
7. Frances decides Robert would be a good catch because her looks are going.
8. Robert and Jake enjoy playing tennis together.
9. Frances becomes jealous of Robert when Jake mentions a girl in Strasbourg.
10. At the end of Chapter 1, Robert is afraid Jake is angry with him.
(The entire section is 177 words.)
Book I, Chapter 2 Questions and Answers
1. How does Robert’s perception of himself with women change?
2. How old is Robert?
3. Where does he want Jake to go?
4. What is Robert sick of?
5. What book does Robert read?
6. Who does Jake think lives life to the fullest?
7. What is Jake’s line when he wants to get rid of people?
8. Where does Robert get his ideas?
9. What happens when Robert waits for Jake in the office?
10. What do we know about his and Frances’ relationship at the end?
1. After Robert publishes his book, he realizes he is desirable to women.
2. Robert is 34.
3. Robert wants Jake to travel with him to South America.
4. Robert is sick of Paris.
5. Robert read The Purple Land by Hudson.
6. Jake believes bullfighters live their lives to the fullest.
7. When Jake wants an exit line, he tells people he has to get off some cables.
8. Robert is not an original thinker and gets his ideas from books.
9. Robert falls asleep in a chair and has a nightmare while he is waiting for Jake to finish his work.
10. At the end, the reader is led to believe he and Frances are having trouble because he says they stayed up all night talking.
(The entire section is 201 words.)
Book I, Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
1. What drink does Georgette order?
2. What is physically wrong with Georgette?
3. How did Jake get hurt?
4. Where do Jake and the others go?
5. What is Georgette’s occupation?
6. What city is Jake from?
7. What does Georgette think of Paris?
8. What type of people does Brett arrive with?
9. Who falls for Brett at the end of the chapter?
10. How is Brett different in the taxi?
1. Georgette orders pernod.
2. Georgette has bad teeth.
3. While Jake was in the war, he received his injury.
4. Jake and the others go to the Bal, a dance club.
5. Georgette is a prostitute.
6. Jake is an American from Kansas City.
7. Georgette thinks Paris is dirty and expensive.
8. When Brett arrives at the dance club, she is with a group of gay men.
9. At the end of the chapter, Robert is acting smitten with Brett.
10. Unlike the normal carefree exterior she presents, when Brett is in the taxi with Jake she is open and honest.
(The entire section is 160 words.)
Book I, Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. Why won’t Brett let Jake be romantic in the taxi?
2. What does Brett feel is the reason she is unable to have Jake sexually?
3. How do other people react to Jake’s injury?
4. What is Zizi’s occupation?
5. Whom does Georgette get into a fight with?
6. How does Robert look when he goes home with Frances?
7. What are Jake’s two pieces of mail?
8. How does Jake show intense feelings for Brett while he is alone?
9. Who is Zizi’s benefactor?
10. Who is waiting for Brett in the car?
1. Brett will not let Jake get intimate in the taxi because she knows he cannot consummate their romance.
2. Brett thinks her inability to have Jake is God’s way of repaying her for breaking men’s hearts.
3. Other people think Jake’s injury is funny.
4. Zizi is a portrait painter.
5. Georgette gets into a fight with the patronne’s daughter at Bal’s.
6. When Robert leaves with Frances, he looks depressed.
7. When Jake checks his mail, he has received a bank statement and a wedding announcement.
8. When Jake is alone contemplating his feelings for Brett, he cries.
9. Zizi’s benefactor is Count Mippipopolous.
10. Count Mippipopolous is waiting in the car for Brett.
(The entire section is 205 words.)
Book I, Chapters 5-6 Questions and Answers
1. How did Jake originally meet Brett?
2. Whom is Brett divorcing?
3. Who asks Jake for money?
4. Whom does Robert say he dislikes?
5. What does Frances want that Robert will not do?
6. What had Frances thought she would have even though she does not like them?
7. Whom did Robert leave when he met Frances?
8. Where is Robert sending Frances?
9. What reason does Robert give Frances for leaving her?
10. Why is Jake uncomfortable with the conversation between Robert and Frances?
1. Jake and Brett met in the hospital where Jake was sent for his injury during the war.
2. Brett is in the process of obtaining a divorce from Lord Ashley.
3. Harvey Stone hints to Jake he needs money.
4. Robert dislikes Harvey Stone, and the feeling is mutual.
5. Frances wants Robert to marry her, but he refuses.
6. Frances had assumed she would always have children.
7. Robert had left his secretary when he met Frances.
8. Robert is sending Frances to England to be with friends.
9. Robert tells Frances he needs to get material for a new book.
10. Jake is uncomfortable with the conversation between Frances and Robert because she is insulting Robert, and he is not standing up for himself.
(The entire section is 197 words.)
Book I, Chapter 7 Questions and Answers
1. Whom does Brett bring to Jake’s flat?
2. What errand does Brett send the Count on?
3. What does Jake ask Brett to do?
4. Where does Brett say she is going?
5. Brett says she has not thought of whom in a week?
6. When the Count gets wine at the dance club, what is the year on the bottle?
7. While they are dancing, how does Jake feel about Brett’s openness with him?
8. Why does Brett push Jake away at the door?
9. What do all the things the Count values have in common?
10. What does the Count think of Zizi?
1. Brett brings Count Mippipopolous to Jake’s flat.
2. Brett sends Count Mippipopolous to get champagne so she can talk to Jake.
3. Jake asks Brett to live with him or go with him to the country.
4. Brett tells Jake she is going to San Sebastian.
5. Brett has not thought of Michael, her fiancé, in a week.
6. The year on the wine bottle is 1811.
7. When Brett is open with him while dancing, Jake feels he has been through that before.
8. Brett pushes Jake away at the door because he is kissing her.
9. All of the things Count Mippipopolous mentions as important to him satisfy physical cravings.
10. The count thinks Zizi has a good future, but he feels uncomfortable...
(The entire section is 219 words.)
Book II, Chapter 8 Questions and Answers
1. Who disappears at the same time as Brett?
2. What city has she gone to?
3. What city do Jake and Bill initially meet in?
4. Which city does Bill like?
5. What city does Bill encounter prejudice in?
6. What does Bill want Jake to buy?
7. What does Brett regret?
8. Who is Brett’s fiance?
9. What does Mike dislike about Brett?
10. What does Mike tell about his financial situation?
1. Robert and Brett are both gone at the same time.
2. Brett has gone on a trip to San Sebastian.
3. Jake and Bill initially meet in Paris.
4. Bill enjoys Budapest.
5. While Bill is in Vienna, he encounters prejudice against a black man.
6. Bill wants Jake to buy an animal that has been stuffed by the taxidermist.
7. Brett regrets leaving Paris and going to San Sebastian.
8. Brett’s fiancé is Mike Campbell.
9. While they are at the bar, Mike makes comments about disliking Brett’s hat.
10. Mike tells he is bankrupt.
(The entire section is 157 words.)
Book II, Chapter 9 Questions and Answers
1. What kind of fight do Bill and Jake see at the beginning of the chapter?
2. Where does Jake cable Robert to meet them?
3. After Bayonne, where will they go on the bus?
4. What does Mike ask Jake’s permission to do?
5. What is Mike waiting for before he goes with them?
6. Brett expresses concern about whose going on the trip?
7. What does Brett confide to Jake about her and Robert?
8. How does Jake react?
9. Why had Brett gone with Robert?
10. Where do Jake and Brett plan to meet?
1. At the beginning of the chapter, Robert and Jake are going to watch boxing.
2. Jake cables Robert to meet them in Bayonne.
3. After they leave Bayonne, the friends plan to go to Pamplona.
4. Mike wants to go with Jake and Bill to Spain.
5. Mike is waiting for his allowance to come.
6. Brett feels concern Robert will feel uncomfortable on the trip with her and Mike.
7. Brett tells Jake she and Robert had been together in San Sebastian.
8. Jake reacts to Brett’s revelation by sarcastically commenting on the liaison.
9. Brett says she had gone with Robert because she thought the affair would be good for him.
10. Jake and Brett make plans to meet in Pamplona.
(The entire section is 206 words.)
Book II, Chapters 10-11 Questions and Answers
1. What does Jake buy before they leave?
2. Where do they hire the car to take them?
3. How do Spanish meals differ from American?
4. What do Robert and Bill bet on?
5. Why does Robert decide not to go fishing with Bill and Jake?
6. How does Bill react when he finds Robert actually did go with Brett to San Sebastian?
7. What kind of noise does the Basque on the bus imitate?
8. What type of apparel do the Basques wear?
9. How long had the man on the bus been in America?
10. What drink comes with the hotel room’s price?
1. Before they leave on the trip, Jake buys tackle for fishing.
2. Jake, Bill, and Robert hire the car to take them to Pamplona.
3. In Spain, meals contain more courses.
4. Bill bets Brett and Mike will come to Pamplona that night, but Robert bets they will not.
5. Robert thinks he should go to Brett in case she had intended to meet him in San Sebastian.
6. Bill thinks Brett was foolish to go with Robert to San Sebastian.
7. On the bus, the Basque repeatedly imitates a Klaxon motor horn.
8. The Basques wear a black smock.
9. The man Bill and Jake meet on the bus had been in America 15 years.
10. Wine is included in the price of the room.
(The entire section is 216 words.)
Book II, Chapter 12 Questions and Answers
1. What does Jake get at the stream while Bill is still asleep?
2. What words does Bill repeat and even sing to the tune of another song?
3. What kind of fish are they catching?
4. How do they keep their wine cold?
5. How many fish does Jake lay out at the dam?
6. What does Jake put between layers of fish?
7. What do they have for lunch?
8. How long do Bill and Jake stay in Burguete to fish?
9. Whom do they meet in Burguete who goes fishing with them?
10. What river do they fish in?
1. Jake gets worms for bait while Bill is asleep.
2. Bill repeats the words “irony and pity.”
3. Bill and Jake are catching trout.
4. The men keep their wine cold by putting it in a cold stream.
5. Jake lays out six fish.
6. Jake separates layers of fish by placing ferns between them.
7. For lunch Jake and Bill have chicken and eggs.
8. Bill and Jake stay in Burguete for five days.
9. While they are in Burguete, Harris fishes with them.
10. The men fish in the Irati River.
(The entire section is 179 words.)
Book II, Chapter 13 Questions and Answers
1. Who gives Jake the letter from Michael?
2. Where are Bill and Jake meeting Brett and Michael?
3. From whom does Jake receive a telegram?
4. What does Harris give Bill and Jake as presents when they leave for Pamplona?
5. Why does Montoya respect Jake so much?
6. What are two things Mike says caused his bankruptcy?
7. To what does Jake compare the bull?
8. Who gets into an argument with Robert? Why?
9. How had Robert acted when he joined Brett and Mike in San Sebastian?
10. What pet name does Robert call Brett? Why?
1. Harris gives Jake the letter from Michael.
2. All of the friends will be meeting at the Hotel Montoya in Pamplona.
3. Jake receives a telegram from Robert Cohn telling of his arrival.
4. Harris gives parting gifts of fishing flies to Jake and Bill.
5. Montoya respects him because Jake has a passion, or afición, for bullfighting.
6. Mike says his bankruptcy was caused by friends and creditors.
7. Jake compares the bull to a boxer.
8. Mike gets into an argument with Robert because he is tired of Robert following Brett around everywhere.
9. In San Sebastian, Robert had followed Brett everywhere and stared at her constantly.
10. Robert calls Brett Circe because...
(The entire section is 204 words.)
Book II, Chapters 14-15 Questions and Answers
1. Whom does Jake think he has not been considerate of?
2. How does Jake categorize his various friends’ abilities to hold alcohol?
3. How does Robert spend his time before the fiesta?
4. What is written on the banner being carried into the fiesta?
5. How long is the fiesta?
6. Whom do the dancers put into the center of the group as an image to dance around?
7. How much does Jake pay for the wineskins?
8. Who passes out from drinking too much?
9. Before it starts, what is Robert afraid will happen during the bullfight?
10. How old is Romero?
1. Jake thinks he has not been considering Brett’s feelings.
2. Jake feels Mike is a bad drunk; Brett and Bill are good drinkers; Cohn never gets drunk.
3. Before the fiesta, Robert studies Spanish or gets a shave.
4. The banner reads, “Hurray for Wine! Hurray for the foreigners!”
5. The Pamplona fiesta lasts seven days.
6. The dancers place Brett into the center of their group and dance around her.
7. Jake pays eight pesetas for two wineskins.
8. Robert passes out from drinking too much.
9. Robert is afraid he may be bored during the bullfight.
10. Romero is 19 years old.
(The entire section is 192 words.)
Book II, Chapter 16 Questions and Answers
1. Why doesn’t Montoya want Romero to have coffee with the ambassador?
2. What does Bill keep doing to Mike?
3. Where did Romero learn English?
4. What does Jake lie to Romero about?
5. What does the critic compare the bulls’ horns to?
6. Who nearly come to blows?
7. Where is Robert when Brett and Jake come out of the bar?
8. Whom has Brett fallen for?
9. While they are sitting at the table, what does Brett tell Romero she will do for him?
10. Under what pretense does Jake leave Brett and Romero?
1. Montoya is afraid if Romero has coffee with the ambassador, the attention will spoil Romero.
2. As a joke, Bill keeps getting men to shine Mike’s boots.
3. Romero had learned English in Gibraltar.
4. Jake lies when he tells Romero he saw him fight in Madrid.
5. The critic with Romero compares the bull’s horns to bananas.
6. During the course of the conversation, Mike and Robert nearly come to blows.
7. Brett and Jake know Robert has been waiting for her because he walks out from under the arcade.
8. Brett has fallen in love with Romero.
9. While they are sitting at the table, Brett says she can tell Romero’s fortune.
10. Jake lets Brett and Romero be alone by saying he...
(The entire section is 216 words.)
Book II, Chapter 17 Questions and Answers
1. Who is Bill’s friend?
2. Why had they been thrown out of the bar?
3. Why does Robert panic when he sees Jake?
4. What does Robert call Jake?
5. Who swings at Robert in the cafe?
6. Who wants to see Jake when he gets to the hotel?
7. How does Robert rationalize his behavior to Jake?
8. Whom does the bull kill?
9. What literary technique does Hemingway use to make the story of the bull stand out from the rest of the novel?
10. How many people are taken to the infirmary because of the bulls?
1. Bill’s friend in the reading is Edna.
2. Bill, Edna, and Mike are thrown out of a bar because they have been fighting with some Englishmen.
3. Robert panics at seeing Jake because Brett is no longer with him.
4. When Robert finds out Jake has fixed up Brett and Romero, he calls Jake a “pimp.”
5. Jake swings at Robert in the cafe.
6. Robert says he wants to speak to Jake.
7. Robert says he has acted badly because he is crazy about Brett, and she has treated him badly ever since San Sebastian.
8. The bull kills Vincente Girones, a man who is in town to see the bullfights.
9. In order to make the story of the bull distinct from the rest of the novel, Jake tells the story out of c
(The entire section is 236 words.)
Book II, Chapter 18 Questions and Answers
1. At the beginning of the chapter, who has left?
2. Who is in bad shape from Robert’s beating?
3. What does Brett want to do in San Fermin?
4. What is the nationality of the maitre d’ at the hotel?
5. What is in the baskets carried by the sword handlers and bull-ring servants?
6. What official is attending the final fight?
7. What is wrong with Romero’s first bull?
8. To whom does Romero give the bull’s ear?
9. What does Jake say Robert will do now?
10. Where is Brett?
1. Robert leaves after his altercation with the others about Brett.
2. Romero has been badly beaten by Robert.
3. When she and Jake are in San Fermin, Brett prays for Romero.
4. The hotel maitre d’ is German.
5. The sword handlers’ baskets are holding fighting capes and muletas.
6. The president is watching the bullfights on the last day of the fiesta.
7. Romero’s first bull presents a challenge because it cannot see well.
8. After Romero has killed the bull, he cuts off the ear and gives it to Brett.
9. Jake assumes that, now that Robert has accepted his loss of Brett, he will go back to Frances.
10. Brett has left Pamplona with Romero.
(The entire section is 199 words.)
Book III, Chapter 19 Questions and Answers
1. Where do the three men decide to travel together?
2. Who avoids Jake when he is checking out?
3. Why can’t Mike pay for drinks?
4. Why doesn’t Jake want to go to Paris with Bill?
5. Where does Jake go in Spain?
6. What kind of race is going on in San Sebastian?
7. Where does Brett ask Jake to come?
8. Why is Brett upset?
9. Besides Brett, how many women has Romero been with?
10. Where are Brett and Jake at the end of the story?
1. Bill, Jake, and Mike travel together as far as Bayonne.
2. When Jake is checking out, Montoya avoids him because of his role in Romero and Brett’s affair.
3. Mike cannot pay for the drinks because he is out of money.
4. Jake does not want to go to Paris because he does not want to party anymore.
5. In Spain, Jake goes to San Sebastian.
6. The Tour du Pays Basque bicycle race is being run in San Sebastian.
7. Brett contacts Jake to meet her in Madrid.
8. When Jake arrives, Brett is upset because Romero has left her.
9. Besides Brett, Romero has only been with two women.
10. At the end of the story, Brett and Jake are in a taxi in Madrid.
(The entire section is 204 words.)
The first-person narration of Jake Barnes is sometimes referred to as a “roman à clef.” A roman à clef is a story understandable only to those who have a “key” for deciphering the real persons and places behind the story. The story of Jake Barnes resembles the real events of the summer of 1925 in the life of Hemingway and his friends. Still there is enough difference that no “key” is needed for understanding. That is to say, the novel stands on its own whether or not the reader knows on whom the character Lady Brett Ashley is based. In addition, Jake Barnes is not Hemingway because in real life Hemingway was married when he went to Pamplona. Jake is a blending of several real people as well as a fruition of Hemingway’s theoretic code-hero. There is enough similarity for comparisons but the novel is in no way an autobiographical event. It is a story attempting to speak truths to the present generation.
Hemingway’s dependence on dialogue is just one mark of his modernity. Henry James for example, felt dialogue was the climax of a scene and was to be used sparingly. Hemingway creates whole scenes solely from dialogue. However, Hemingway’s dialogue made the story an easy and fast read with effects similar to news writing. The author seems to disappear as the narrator allows his contact with others to balance out the...
(The entire section is 757 words.)
Examined in the context of early 1920s literature, Hemingway's writing in The Sun Also Rises displays a combination of conventional and groundbreaking techniques. The chronological, first-person narrative structure of the novel is relatively standard, whereas the intense, almost poetic style is unique. Hemingway eliminates ornamentation—such as excessive adjectives or adverbs—from his writing and employs rigorous word selection in an effort to unite action, emotion, and text.
Hemingway carefully modulates the rhythm of the text, often through the use of repetition and short sentences. When Brett turns up on Jake's doorstep at 4:30 a.m., she explains why she has left her escort:
...Then he wanted me to go to Cannes with him. Told him I knew too many people in Cannes. Monte Carlo. Told him I knew too many people in Monte Carlo. Told him I knew too many people everywhere. Quite true, too. So I asked him to bring me here.
The dialogue in The Sun Also Rises, like that in all of Hemingway's works, reveals character, carries the movement of the story, and generates tension. Brett's breathless rundown of her evening's activities highlights her flip, world-weary, and often drunken outlook on the world; whereas Cannes and Monte Carlo traditionally conjure up images of glamour and romance, behind Brett's offhand mention of these locales lies the unspoken fact that she and Jake can never be...
(The entire section is 334 words.)
From the start, The Sun Also Rises has stirred controversy. When the novel was first published, high society attempted to match characters in the book with certain well-known celebrities from the expatriate world. The thrill of this guessing game soon subsided, however, leaving Hemingway's characters to be examined in their own right. Although promiscuity, apathy, and alcoholism figure prominently in the behavior of Brett and the other expatriates, most readers deemed their actions more chic than immoral. Thus, while The Sun Also Rises explicitly criticizes expatriate society for lacking a moral foundation, public reaction to the book over the years has pointed up the hypocrisy of society at large for refusing to cast harsh judgment on those people it considers sufficiently glamorous.
(The entire section is 122 words.)
Compare and Contrast
- 1920s: Thomas Hunt Morgan proves his theory of hereditary transmission through experiments with fruit flies and publishes The Theory of the Gene in 1926. Coincidentally, Herman Joseph Mullar proves that X-rays can produce genetic mutations.
Today: It is no longer speculation that genes provide the source code for life and can be mutated by radiation. In fact, Morgan’s groundbreaking experiment is now an exercise in college biology rooms. Moreover, armed with lessons in genetic engineering, biotechnology firms are literally changing the fabric of nature by gene manipulation and the techniques of cloning.
- 1920s: The “Noble Experiment” of Prohibition is in full swing. Backers hope it will make America better by forcing its people to be sober. Instead, average citizens flout the law by patronizing illegal establishments run by the Mafia. Bootlegging is a billion-dollar industry.
Today: The “War on Drugs” is mounted to stop the sale of hard drugs and urban deterioration in the United States.
- 1920s: The tuna industry is in a crisis as albacore disappears off the California coast. The industry begins harvesting the lower quality yellowfin tuna.
Today: The entire fishing industry is in a crisis with vast areas of the oceans fished out. Whole strata...
(The entire section is 292 words.)
Topics for Discussion
1. Describe Brett's relationships with Jake, Mike Campbell, Robert Cohn, and Pedro Romero. Do you think she treats men badly?
2. Robert Cohn, a former collegiate boxing champion, beats up Romero when he finds him with Brett. What does Brett think about Cohn after this incident? What does she think about Romero, and why does she decide to avoid further romantic involvement with him?
3. Hemingway regards the bullfight as a religious experience of sorts. Why? What are some of the similarities between religious ritual and bullfighting ritual?
4. Compare Hemingway's descriptions of Paris, the Basque countryside, and Pamplona. How do the different landscapes reflect the characters' actions and emotions?
5. At the end of the novel, Jake and Brett see the sights of Madrid from a taxi. How is this characteristic of their relationship? What does it suggest about the fate of their generation?
6. Jake drinks a great deal of alcohol. Discuss the ways in which alcohol serves as a destructive force or an escape from reality, and the ways in which it serves as a medium for communion with nature. Analyze the last two pages of the novel in this regard.
(The entire section is 188 words.)
Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. The Fiesta de San Fermin is a real festival held every year from July 6 to July 14 in Pamplona. Research and report on the history of bullfighting in Spain and the traditions associated with this festival in particular.
2. Research and report on the American literary colony in Paris during the 1920s. A few of the better known writers who made up this community are Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, and Gertrude Stein. You may wish to consult Hemingway's memoir A Movable Feast or Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas for firsthand accounts of expatriate society.
3. Brett refers to herself as Circe, a temptress from Greek mythology. Research the Circe myth and discuss the aptness of Brett's comparison. Explain Jake's role in the Circe legend as it appears in Hemingway's novel.
4. In chapter 17, a man is gored to death while running with the bulls through the streets of Pamplona, prompting a waiter to comment to Jake: "A big horn wound. All for fun. Just for fun. What do you think of that?" How does Jake react to the waiter's comments? Do you think his attitude toward bullfighting changes over the course of the book? Why is it significant that the bull that kills the man is later killed by Romero?
5. Read Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway's 1932 treatise on bullfighting. Compare his descriptions of the sport in this later work of nonfiction to those in The Sun Also Rises.
(The entire section is 239 words.)
Topics for Further Study
- After doing some research on bullfighting and its surrounding festival, explain the novel according to your findings discussing whether or not the British title of Fiesta was more or less appropriate. Is the bullfight the focus of the novel? Back up your claims by examining each character’s reaction to the spectacle.
- Thinking about the role that the matador plays in the novel, what is the role of a hero in a world disillusioned by war? Would you agree with cultural anthropologist Joseph Campbell that his role (and Joseph Campbell does emphasize the need for rejuvenating masculine heroic ritual) is to reconnect people into a “coordinated soul”? As he says in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, “It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse.” Lastly, do you think Hemingway was working with this idea in mind?
- Compare The Sun Also Rises with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. How does the spokesman for the “lost generation” compare with that of the “beat generation”?
- Given the conditions of agrarian life in the dust bowl of the early part of this century, what arguments can you make for linking the “greats” of the “lost generation” to their birth-region? Except for Ezra Pound (Idaho), they...
(The entire section is 265 words.)
In a general sense, all of Hemingway's work is related, but the reader who wishes to gain a more thorough understanding of Hemingway's love for Spain is referred to the author's classic nonfiction study of the bullfight, Death in the Afternoon.
The Sun Also Rises is frequently studied in conjunction with Hemingway's novels A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls and his novella, The Old Man and the Sea. In each of these later works, Hemingway's protagonist faces death or extreme deprivation, and learns the value of "grace under pressure." Read together, these books span nearly four decades and provide a glimpse of how Hemingway sustained and adapted his basic themes over the course of his career.
There have been many attempts to adapt Hemingway's work to film. The Sun Also Rises was made into a disappointing motion picture, directed by Henry King and starring Tyrone Power, Eva Gardner, and Errol Flynn, in 1957; in 1985 it resurfaced as a disastrous NBC television miniseries starring Jane Seymour, Hart Bochner, Zeljko Ivanek, and Robert Carradine. Neither version captured the spirit of the work or displayed any comprehension of the novel's themes.
(The entire section is 191 words.)
- Using a screenplay by Peter Viertel, Twentieth Century-Fox adapted The Sun Also Rises to the big screen. The movie was released in 1957 and was directed by Harry King. The film stars Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, and Errol Flynn.
- Directed by James Goldstone and starring Elisabeth Borgnine, The Sun Also Rises was adapted for television in 1985.
(The entire section is 55 words.)
What Do I Read Next?
- Bullfighting often disgusts people as cruel treatment of animals. Whether or not you feel that way, it is worth learning more about the sport or art form. Try reading “The Spanish Fiesta Brava: Historical Perspective” by former matador Mario Carrion on his homepage at http://coloquio.com/toros.html.
- “La Historia de las Plazas de Toros en Espana—Research Paper,” by Jason Westrope, is a very good historical discussion of bullfighting. It is in English and can be found at http://www.arch.usf.edu/people/students/westrope/portfoli/D5doc.htm.
- “The Undefeated” is Hemingway’s first short story about bullfighting and can be found in his collection of 1925 entitled In Our Time.
- Hemingway’s posthumously published love letter to the Paris of the 1920s is entitled A Moveable Feast (1954). The book is full of Parisian scenes as well as character sketches of his famous friends: Gertrude Stein James Joyce Ezra Pound Ford Madox Ford, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Set far away from Hemingway’s stage, Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt (1922) has a similar satirical bent. Rather than strike at the...
(The entire section is 285 words.)
For Further Reference
Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Scribner's, 1969. The first full-length biography of Hemingway, this volume remains the best and most reliable resource for a balanced portrait of the man and his career.
Hemingway: The Writer as Artist. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972. One of the earliest and still one of the best critical studies of Hemingway's works.
Bruccoli, Matthew J. Conversations with Ernest Hemingway. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. A useful and convenient compilation of Hemingway interviews and statements.
Moore, Gene M. "Ernest Hemingway." In Research Guide to Biography and Criticism, edited by Walton Beacham. Washington, DC: Beacham Publishing, 1985. Contains a useful overview of Hemingway criticism and biography.
Oliver, Charles M., ed. The Hemingway Review. Most of the important new scholarly and critical work on Hemingway appears in this journal.
Reynolds, Michael. The Young Hemingway. New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986. The first volume in a multivolume biography of Hemingway, this judicious work is the most significant and substantive of the many biographies that have appeared since Baker's landmark study.
Wagner, Linda W., ed. Ernest Hemingway: Six Decades of Criticism. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1987. Contains some of the best critical essays on Hemingway's...
(The entire section is 242 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
Quotations for The Sun Also Rises are taken from the following edition:
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. New York: Scribner’s Paperback Fiction, 1954
Aiken, Conrad. “Expatriates.” In New York Herald Tribune Books, October 31, 1926, p. 4.
Aldridge, John W. “The Sun Also Rises—Sixty Years Later.” In The Sewanee Review, Vol XCIV, No. 2, Spring, 1986, pp. 337-45.
Baker, Carlos. In Hemingway: The Writer as Artist, third edition. Princeton University Press, 1963, p. 379.
Baskett, Sam S. “‘An Image to Dance Around’: Brett and Her Lovers in ‘The Sun Also Rises.’” In The Centennial Review, Vol. XXII, No. 1, Winter, 1978, pp. 45-69.
Brooks, Cleanth, Jr., and Robert Penn Warren. “‘The Killers’, Ernest Hemingway: Interpretation.” In Understanding Fiction, edited by Cleanth Brooks, Jr. and Robert Penn Warren. Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1959, pp. 306-25.
Doody, Terrence. “Hemingway’s Style and Jake’s Narration." In The Journal of Narrative Technique, Vol. 4, No. 3, September, 1974, pp. 212-25.
Farrell, James T. “Ernest Hemingway, Apostle of a ‘Lost Generation.’” In The New York Times Books Review, August 1, 1943, pp. 6, 14.
Hook, Andrew. “Art and Life in The Sun Also Rises.” In...
(The entire section is 1127 words.)
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Aldridge, John W. “The Sun Also Rises: Sixty Years Later.” Sewanee Review 94, no. 2 (Spring, 1986): 337-345. Abundant criticism on Hemingway’s most analyzed novel may overpower rather than enlighten nonspecialist readers. Aldridge, however, succeeds in blending accessibility and scholarship. Discussion of Hemingway’s meticulous language usage, based on the strong presence of things unsaid, is particularly interesting.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Contains ten essays that Bloom considers to represent the most helpful criticism published on the novel. Authors include Hemingway scholars such as Carlos Baker (Hemingway’s prime biographer), Scott Donaldson, and Linda Wagner-Martin.
The Hemingway Review 6, no. 1 (Fall, 1986): 2-111. This special issue celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of The Sun Also Rises. The nine articles deal with topics as diverse as the original manuscript, Hemingway’s presentation of women and war, the moral axis of the novel, and the word “sun” as title and metaphor.
Reynolds, Michael S. “The Sun Also Rises”: A Novel of the Twenties. Boston: Twayne, 1988. An excellent overall reference accessible to the general reader. Reynolds discusses the novel’s importance and critical...
(The entire section is 236 words.)